No, my siblings and I never accessed specialised counselling as children as this was something that was left to the will of parents (if they even knew about it). We all displayed signs of mal-adjustment and cultural/racial suppression.
Counselling should be mandatory
– Free/affordable DNA testing,
– Information on where to learn origin languages if available
– Central department to keep record of information provided by birth family/origin country) at the time of adoption. Central department can be contacted to provide this info to adoptees (not just their adoptive parents) and for this to be made clear to adoptees so they know as adults that their information has not been lost forever
– Relevant and up to date information about the realities of travelling to origin country (safety, ease of travel, health concerns etc)
formulated plans in counselling for before and after a trip to origin country. For example, prior to leaving there is a discussion about what the adoptee and their family want to gain, how meeting birth family can affect an individuals identity and life plans etc. After returning, follow up conversation regarding the above as well as discussing how to manage integrating two families and two or more cultures/histories into ones life.
General ongoing counselling around reconciling the two selves
– National database that provides reminders every 2 years to families in regional and remote areas and every 4 years for single adoptee adults.
– More community and network building in the initial stages of adoption to create a bigger rural community presence of ICAFSS (links to other local services or programs that may be able to carry out large portions of the work)
a, b & c) Educate allied health professionals about the existence of ICAFSS, market it so GPs, counsellors, psychs, social workers automatically think of ICAFSS when coming in contact with an adoptee and their family. I am an adult adoptee that has worked in social work for 13 months and have only just learned about ICAFSS 5 months ago.
school counsellors should be sent information when adoptees are enrolled in their school (with parent permission if necessary) as adolescence is a critical time
I also think parents should agree to minimum number of counselling sessions in a specified amount of time for the family and for adoptees separately. It should be mandatory in the beginning to 1) normalise the process 2) reiterate to parents that there are specialists supports that need to be accessed 3) aid children in coming to terms with themselves and their situations early on in a way that is not dictated by their parents motivation/ignorance or schedules
– short-term: to allow the international adoptee community to feel that they are being heard and to allow them to regain faith in the system of adoption.
– long-term: normalise and celebrate the complex support systems necessary to raise a child of adoption. To have more people accessing the services so they can then more revolutionised further.
– performance indicators and data: attendee numbers for counselling, registered trips back to origin countries, feedback forms, constructs for family cohesiveness (I.e does the family report more or less conflict since accessing services, do they report better communication)
About time 🙂